With under five minutes left in the third quarter of Sunday’s top-10 showdown, NC State guard Madison Hayes drained a 3-pointer to trim UConn women’s basketball’s lead to six points. But nearly as soon as that ball went through the net, Azzi Fudd had an answer on the other end, drilling a triple of her own off an assist from Nika Mühl.
Each time the Wolfpack cut into the Huskies’ lead throughout the afternoon, Fudd seemed to have a response. The sophomore guard scored 32 points, tying a career-high as she led No. 5 UConn to a 91-69 victory over No. 10 NC State at the XL Center.
This was the Huskies’ second victory over a top-10 ranked team in less than a week. They defeated No. 3 Texas, 83-76, on Monday behind another 32-point performance from Fudd.
Fudd scored six 3-pointers and shot 50% from the field in Sunday’s victory. Aaliyah Edwards recorded a double-double with 20 points and 12 rebounds, along with four assists. Aubrey Griffin had 16 points, a career-high six steals and six rebounds, while Lou Lopez Sénéchal added 20 points. Mühl also had a strong showing, setting a program record with a career-high 15 assists along with six rebounds.
UConn held NC State to 37% shooting from the field and 24% from 3-point range while shooting 50% from the field itself. The Huskies scored 27 points off 19 Wolfpack turnovers as well.
Prior to the game, just as the national anthem had ended, assistant coach Chris Dailey appeared to faint and fell to the court. She was taken off in a stretcher, and waved to the crowd as she exited.
The Huskies entered Sunday’s matchup with just eight players fully available. On top of star guard Paige Bueckers (ACL tear) and freshman forward Ice Brady’s (dislocated Patella) season-ending injuries suffered in the preseason, Dorka Juhász broke her left thumb in the Huskies’ win over Texas earlier in the week. That injury will keep the graduate forward out for at least the next three games.
Caroline Ducharme was available as the ninth active player for the Huskies, but the sophomore guard saw limited time as she continues to work her way back from neck stiffness. She played 11 minutes.
Juhász’s injury shook up the starting lineup the Huskies had gone with for the first two games of the season and the exhibition showing before that. Griffin was part of the first five alongside Edwards down low.
The Huskies started the afternoon with a 9-0 run right out of the gates. They were locked in on the defensive end, forcing three turnovers and scoring seven points off those in the first two minutes.
Griffin made the most of her first start since Jan. 31, 2021, looking back to her healthy self as she record six points and four steals in the first quarter. Thanks in large part to Griffin’s effort, UConn scored 15 points off eight NC State turnovers in the first period alone. The Huskies forced their opponent to cough up the ball on 38% of their possessions in the opening frame, at the end of which they held a 23-13 lead.
The Huskies continued to grow their advantage in the second quarter, with a steal from Ayanna Patterson leading to a layup from Fudd right away. But with 2:34 left in the second quarter, NC State guard Diamond Johnson scored a 3-pointer to trim UConn’s once 12-point lead to 33-30. The Huskies were in the midst of a four minute scoring drought, but that would eventually be broken by the duo of Griffin and Fudd.
Griffin came up with her fifth steal of the afternoon less than a minute later and found Fudd on the wing. The sophomore guard drained her fourth 3-pointer with ease to put UConn back in control.
The Huskies led 40-33 at halftime. Fudd scored 22 of those points herself as the her team shot 50% from the floor. Edwards and Griffin were the only other Huskies to score in the half, recording 12 and six points, respectively.
Griffin picked up where she left off and scored the first two buckets of the third quarter, with both coming on the fast break as the Huskies continued to turn defense into offense.
Lopez Sénéchal joined in on the scoring action in the third. She nearly had a 4-point play after getting fouled on a 3-pointer with around seven minutes left and scored an and-one play later in the period to give UConn a 62-47 lead.
That bucket was part of a 15-2 run over the last 4:30 of the quarter, at which point the Huskies led 66-47. Lopez Sénéchal scored 12 points in the third period alone.
The contest was all but secured at that point as UConn coasted to victory in the fourth quarter. The Huskies led by as many as 24 points as they added another impressive win to their early-season resume.
Up next for UConn is their first road trip of the season. They head to Portland for the Phil Knight Legacy tournament, where they’ll face Duke next Friday and either No. 4 Iowa or Oregon State on Sunday.